PHOTOS: Despite War And Violence, Kids Still Find 'Moments Of Playfulness'

Dec 6, 2020
Originally published on December 6, 2020 12:22 pm

The photographs portray normal scenes of childhood: kids jumping rope, climbing trees, playing in the street.

But what makes the images striking is the context. These children are living in parts of the world struggling with war, extreme violence and poverty.

That's the theme of Entitlements, a new photo exhibit by the photography group Authority Collective and the nonprofit Atlanta Celebrates Photography. The 14 images capture the hope and strength of teens and children living through incredibly difficult circumstances around the globe. The exhibit is currently on display until the end of the year at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta.

"By depicting children as resilient in the face of insecurity, we are bringing attention to the wrongs they're experiencing and how they find joy in the world despite immense adversity," says Tara Pixley, who co-curated the exhibit with Lauren Tate Baeza.

Half of the images in the show come from American photojournalist Danielle Villasana, who documented women and child refugees in Nigeria, Myanmar and Honduras. The other photographers are Diana Cervantes, Jasmine Clarke, Meghan Dhaliwal, Stephanie Eley and Alexis Hunley.

"These children are growing up in neighborhoods that rob them of opportunity and a childhood," says Villasana. "But they are still having moments of playfulness and doing things that kids do everywhere."

Here is a selection of Villasana's images.

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Halima Ibrahim, 30, with her daughter. After her village was attacked, Ibrahim was forced to live under Boko Haram rule for nine months in Monguno, Nigeria, where insurgents would threaten to kill people in front of them as intimidation. After the military rescued people in captivity, she reunited with her husband in Maiduguri, where she lives in a refugee camp with him and their children.
Danielle Villasana
Zara, 19, was forced to live in Nigeria's Sambisa Forest, Boko Haram's headquarters, after her husband joined the insurgents when their daughter was only two months old. This portrait was taken at a safe house in Maiduguri, where women who have suffered sexual assault, forced marriage or other abuses at the hands of the insurgents are provided support.
Danielle Villasana
Amina, who has suffered forced marriage and captivity at the hands of Boko Haram from the age of 13, now lives in a safe house in northeastern Nigeria where she says there's peace and security. For her future, she hopes to go to school and to get married one day.
Danielle Villasana
Students jump rope during recess at a school for orphaned children in Maiduguri, Nigeria, where many have a parent who was killed by Boko Haram.
Danielle Villasana
Rohingya women and children walk through a refugee camp outside of Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, where nearly one million people have taken refuge, many with visible wounds and scars from human rights abuses committed against them in Myanmar.
Danielle Villasana
A young girl walks along the streets of a neighborhood in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, which has some of the highest homicide rates in the world due to violence from gangs and police.
Danielle Villasana